2004 Alaska    (home)


In July of 2004 Bob and Kathy, to celebrate their 30th anniversary, went on an Alaskan cruise. We flew out of Indianapolis to Vancouver British Columbia. We spent 2 days touring this delightful city. The weather here and through out the trip was perfect.

In Vancouver we saw beautiful gardens and parks, The people here must appreciate their coffee as we saw two Starbucks across from each other at one intersection. We walked for several miles around the city and took a bus ride thru a park on an island in the harbor. The people were very friendly and helpful. I have at a couple of pictures for your enjoyment. First a picture of Kathy and I just a few hours after we arrived and also The Wooden Boat Shop that we visited next to the harbor. They made small wooden boats....very interesting to watch!

We left Vancouver on July 4th, 2004 bound for Alaska on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship the Serenade of the Seas. The cruise was an unbelievable experience. We spent a week in absolute luxury. The ship had an indoor pool, miniature golf, pool tables, a disco, movie theater, and casino. A typical day on the ship would be spent having breakfast at the buffet or made to order in the dining room. We relaxed while we explored the ship and watched the coast of Canada and Alaska unfold in front of us....Our pictures don't begin to do justice to the view. Each nite dinner was served in the magnificent dining room. Each of us had 4-6 different appetizers, entrees, and deserts selections. One nite I told the waiter I didn't want any of the selections but wanted a Steak. His response? What kind of steak and how do you want it cooked. It was perfect! After dinner we would walk over to the theater and see a different Vegas style show each nite. Very impressive entertainment.  A walk around the ship and a trip to the casino would be in the works before bed time. Each nite when we returned to the cabin after dinner we would be greeted by a new animal made out of towels by our room steward.

We arrived at the Hubbard Glacier on the 3rd day of the cruise. It is a magnificent sight! 300 feet high, 6 miles wide, 300 miles long and moving at the rate of 40 feet per day! (for a glacier that is very fast!). The ship was gently moved to 300 meters from the face of the glacier. We were able to hear the glacier move! As it rumbled and crunched we could see large pieces of ice calf off the face into the water. The accompanying sounds of the crashing ice was a bit intimidating. At times the pieces of ice looked small, til the sound delay reminded you that it happened more than 1/2 mile away and therefore the ice cube you just saw tumble down the face into the water was about 60 feet in diameter! We stayed at the face of the glacier for about 4 hours...seemed more like 40 minutes....It kind of made us feel insignificant.  

Our first stop was in Skagway. We took a Yukon bus tour following some of the paths of the gold prospectors. The tour guide was very good, knew the facts of the area and made it easy for us to envision what the Klondike gold rush was like. We traveled from Skagway thru British Columbia, into the Yukon Territory and back. Pictures for your enjoyment are shown below. Don't miss the one with me and one of the ladies(?) of the Red Onion saloon and bordello!

Juneau was our next port of call. We took a helicopter ride over the Juneau snow fields and several glaciers landing on one. Neither of us had ever been up in a helicopter before. Loved the trip! From the air we were able to actually see where the snow field became a glacier. One point of interest. Glaciers internally are blue. This is caused by the pressure forcing the oxygen out of the ice. Once the ice is exposed to the air again it turns the white you would expect. The surface of a glacier is like a whole pile of small ice cubes. We landed on the Norris Glacier and spent about 20 minutes walking around taking pictures. The view from the glacier was breathtaking! When I took the first of the pictures below I told my wife that it looked like an oil painting. At the end of the flight we flew up over a gap in the mountains and over the glacier on the other side, I will never forget the view! After the flight we toured Juneau, did a bit of shopping then back to the ship for our next adventure.


The next day we stopped at Ketchikan. We went for a tour of an Indian village and learned about the Tligit tribe. We watched their tribal dances. We learned about Totem poles and how each told a story. We watched a workshop where they were making the totems. All in all this was probably the least impressive stop on the trip. We're not much into shopping and it seemed like all they had to offer was gem & jewelry shopping and souvenirs. Had lunch, went back to the ship and got ready for Vancouver again.


Once back in Vancouver we said goodbye to all of our traveling party and rented a car to drive down to Portland to see family and friends. As we drove down the coast thru British Columbia, Washington and Oregon we had some time to admire the scenery and reflect on the things we saw in Alaska. We remembered the wildlife, Eagles, Bear, Salmon, Seals and the beautiful mountains and forests. We continued to keep an eye out for a Moose as we drove down to Portland, but didn't see any. We stopped at Mt St. Helens and spent a day in the park there. It was just amazing to see how much of the mountain had been taken by the eruption. We got within 6 miles of the summit. We could not believe the number of trees that had been blown down, and the way it had rearranged the country side. In places there were hundreds of feet of ash and dirt over the previous surface. At the observation point they had pictures of the mountain and surrounding area as it looked before the eruption. We could then look out over the area and see the changes. Wow! After Mt St Helens we went down toward Portland to visit with Kathy's college roommate Glenda and her husband Larry. There were able to visit and catch up on what has happened in their lives. Larry took me out to play golf. A very nice time was had by all. After the visit we went to visit my sister, Lyn and her husband Terry. As we had not seen them for a while it was very nice to be able to visit for the day. We had not seen their house or their new camper and it was fun trading camping stories. But reality reared its ugly head and we, all too soon, had to return home. But with us we took memories of a great vacation, wonderful people, great scenery and, of course, visits with friends and family.